tv [untitled] January 22, 2011 10:00am-10:30am PST
from the to the housing initiative about our efforts and the sro collaborative briefly? just to point out that they have -- how many inspectors do you have? two. as is often the case, we are the eyes out in the world with our programs and our employees, so thank you. commissioner murphy: commissioner walter, we will have questions for staff. >> thank you, chief housing inspector. the issue of bedbugs has been in the san francisco housing code for the last 30 years. it appears in chapter 10, which is a regurgitation of state law, which defines what a substandard building is, and it is also chapter 13 of the housing code. it is referred to as insect infection, vermin, and bedbugs.
all that has been in that code for many years, probably since it separated from the health code back in the early 1960's, and when the division was separated in the early 1970's or actually even before that -- commissioner murphy: can i ask a question? >> dealing with that issue prior. commissioner murphy: when was that code? >> the housing code became a standalone code in 1963. that is when the current san francisco housing code came to be, approximately the time. the language having to do with bedbugs or insect infestation was in that code, and as you have heard, and i want to thank the doctor for being here today and giving an excellent presentation on things we have been jointly dealing with for quite a while -- the issue that comes to our division is with two health inspectors available to deal with this, we get a lot
of complaints, and the complaints are increasing, and department policy is that right now and forever, if a complaint came in, and it was just exclusively bedbugs, that is referred to the health department. that is through the policy of the director. and the other inspectors the deal with it in other types of buildings, not just hotels. apartment buildings, single- family dwellings. we know they can appear everywhere. it the complaint comes in to housing and the department of building inspection, and if it is a case with multiple violations, we will look at it with the rest of the violations. specifically if we are called to do a joint task force by the city attorney or we do a room to room inspection of a residential
hotel, we will be looking at bedbugs. if we see them, we will be issuing a notice of violation for the property owner to comply with the rules and regulations, which is the document that you got and president murphy was referring to that was amended in 2008. but we get a lot of calls from tenants and occupants in the community grew because of the staffing levels and limited resources that the health department has. we work with them on most all of the room to room inspections we have before we even schedule that of women, or when we schedule that, we work with in issues of complaints, say, residential hotels, we get the environmental health inspectors involved in most of those cases. even though it is a violation of the housing code, the property owners fail to comply with that portion of the it.
they still have to comply with the rules, regulations, and protocol set forward by the environmental health inspector. that is why we are joint. we have overlapping jurisdiction. where we can help, we do health. when it is exclusively a bedbugs, we defer to them. that is what 311 has been instructed to do. commissioner walker: maybe we can bring up somebody from the sor collaborative to talk about this. they do a lot of the out reach. to president murphy's question about training, maybe we can identify need in that area. >> we always are wanting more training. the other thing i would like to show -- i do have numbers of the
complaints we have received since 2005 under bedbugs. when i show you this number of complaints, some of these were referred to the health department. when you look at the actual number, both of these things are added together. the numbers are small. i apologize. in 2005, 148 complaints came in. we issued 30 notices of violation. in 2010, 293 and we issue 91 notices of violation. president murphy: commissioner hechanova. commissioner hechanova: thank you for the update. in the category where infestation -- bedbugs do not really affect the structural
integrity of buildings or any category the housing inspectors will be evaluating. only through their observance, and infestation is taking place on furniture or the category of what furniture there is that is invested, but not as a dbi or building category. it's not affecting structural integrity -- much like termites would. >> it is my understanding that they do not affect the structural integrity. the housing code deals with structural issues, maintenance and property, and sanitation and health and safety. bedbug infestation is a violation and it creates a substandard building under state law, but it is also a
public nuisance. both coaches feel it is significant. in the 20 some years i've been doing code enforcement, i've never seen a quality of life i issue so severe as being inundated with bed bugs. i've had occupants of buildings that have had bedbugs crying on the phone because they were completely eaten up by bedbugs. for the people living in these units, it's a very serious issue. it is tragic. to mr. walker>> thank you. thank you. >> good morning. >> are we at public comment? >> no, as part of the presentation from the clever tip clever ticollaboratives.
>> we see about 300 dropped ins per month and bedbugs are consistently an issue. bedbugs are one of the top concerns for our tenants. through our work around issues of bed bugs, three common themes have arisen. first, there's a problem with the enforcement of bedbug protocol. dph's lack of strong enforcement has led to a lack of the enforcement. many tenants report that the ir managers are not using licensed pest controls for the rooms adjacent to them are not being checked. dbi is in better position to enforce the protocol. dbi has a mechanism in place and more inspectors, which has made
them more effective. the second issue is that although the director's protocol on bedbugs establishes a baseline requirements, it fails to require a ceiling to limit manager's actions. a number of agencies have forced language aimed at stripping tenants of their rights. we've seen clauses that allow a manager to enter a tenant's room without notice, or to throw away items that they deem untreatable. tenants who do not know their rights are forced to sign these contracts. many have committed to me they've gone to great measures to hide bedbug infestation. for people on an extremely limited budget, this can be a burden. even in situations where the
tenant and manager want to attend good faith and follow protocol, the lack of services available to the elderly, physical, or mentally disabled -- some even face eviction because they do not have the physical capacity to prepare their rooms. there's a question about funding. we have received $20,000 in funding. it is restricted to use in private hotels and apartments in our area. we use it for laundry services. last year we used about half of the funds. we simply do not have the capacity in our organization to do things like helping with laundry and things like that. we're using is solely for laundry services. to work on these issues, the sor collaborative held a working group. we created a presentation. any hotel is welcome to request
a presentation. in addition, we are holding a meeting next tuesday, january 25 for sticklers working with tenants with bedbug issues. the goal is to begin crafting policy recommendations that we can bring back to the city. we invite all stakeholders present to join us. we hope that we can work to solve this problem together. thank you, commissioner walker, for providing us this opportunity. commissioner walker: you get $20,000 from the dph funding? >> city funding, yes. commissioner walker: that is interesting. is that all that is used out of that funding? it's all of the $63,000 used every year? >> each of the city sor
collaboratives get a portion of that money. correct me if i'm wrong. it is up to them to use at their discretion. to mr. walker it is all allocated. yes. president murphy: questions, commissioners? thank you very much. i would like to acknowledge the presence of our new supervisor. welcome. if you would like to say a few words, we would appreciate it. commissioner walker: we did not go into public comment yet. president murphy: i just want to welcome you. >> thank you so much for hearing this item. i appreciate commissioner walker.
this is a very large issue in san francisco and especially in the district i represent. commissioner walker has been a longtime advocate and community leader in these issues. and my predecessor, a supervisor daily. i will also be holding a hearing on bed bugs. i look forward to hearing the findings of the building inspection commission. we will take that under consideration we want to look at an overview of the current statistics and what treatment methods have demonstrated promising results, and also what you do that has been successful in decreasing bed bug infestation in district 6. we also want to go into a deeper explanation of how the department of public health and dbi are working together to address enforcement of landlords who ignore bedbugs problems and
also improve guidelines as to what constitutes an infestation. one of the reasons our office is taking this on is because so many community advocates have taken on this issue and done a ton of work in research and advocacy as to what we can do as the city to better improve this issue. i just want to recognize the work that has gone to this. thank you to our community advocates so much for that work. thank you very much. president murphy: thank you. ready for public comment now. each will be allowed three minutes. commissioner walker: i think there are going to be public
comments. >> just a moment. can we have a show of hands as to how many people are here to speak on this issue? commissioner walker: not that many. president murphy has just announceasked me to announce the will have two minutes for public comment. we have a lot of people here to speak. >> good morning. my name is thomas. in an sor tenant who is undergoing bedbugs. let me talk about my experience. i moved into the boy's hotel about three years ago. prior to that, they redid the floor in my room. unfortunately, they did not calk around the edges of my
room. the tenant next mto me is a quarter. he is not getting any case management for his illness. my girlfriend tells me i'm a compulsive person regarding cleanliness. it is probably true. i am probably overly compulsive record in settling this freak if the tenant next door to you is a quartehoarder and he or she doet happen --, vii when treatment -e my room is undergoing treatment, their position was
that they would not give it back until there were three treatments. soffifth the way i got my bedbug problem resolved is i would tell my rent and i ask for a jury trial. unfortunately, most sor tenants are not in a position that i'm in. president murphy: thank you, sir. >> you are welcome. president murphy: yes? we will rotate. >> peter from the small property owners. thank you for asking me to come up. i have to get off to the hospital with a stroke victim that just happened last night. there's a question of who does
the inspection. from my perspective, we would like to know which entity is in charge. do we call dbi? do we call the health department? i think the health department is set up pretty well. there may be some shortages. the san francisco health code articles 6 and 11 were just modified so the fine is not $1,000 for noncompliance, but $1,000 per day. of course, the department of health gives you a period to act on these. they do not come up with guns blazing on the first day. you were given a period to try to correct the issue. the fine is in place. they pretty much know what they're doing. if you do it through dbi, you
have to train the inspectors. you must have confidence. right now we pay the control. that is passed on to the tenant. i suppose the department of building inspection would also impose fees and those would also be passed on. i think it ought to be left with the health department. strengthen the health department if they're lacking in certain areas. that's where it belongs. thank you. president murphy: thank you. >> my name is kendra. a lot of the stuff we see in the mission is similar to what you heard from the sor collaborative. we do our reach every day. we speak with tenants. i'm going to focus on a few of
the issues that we see pre we also have draft recommendations that we put together. i can pass those out to you. specifically, i'm going to talk about how they're all all these protocols in place. although they can be strengthened, they first need to be in force. there's a rule around 48 hours after someone says they have bedbugs, they're supposed to implement the plan within 48 hours. we see that they tell the landlord and nothing is often done. we help them draft a letter. the landlord gets a letter and nothing is done. they call the city. the city comes in to inspect. even when a notice of violation is given, often the manager will drag their feet and do very little.
we do not see as many re- inspections as we would like. if a first spraying is done, we often do not see a second or third spraying. we do not see re-inspections. as you heard, the certification for bedbug people. we see a range of different things that pesticide operators are doing and how they're trying to deal with the issue of bedbugs. the tenants get mixed messages. management gets mixed messages. there were some questions i had, specifically, how often landlords are find and what tools are used. thank you. president murphy: two minutes. next speaker, please.
thi>> good morning. my name is larry. i'm a member of the sor collaborative. i do not have or have not had bedbugs. the issue has come up in my dwelling place. some of the things that i have experienced -- they will almost demand we signed our rights away. they will collect our personal stuff. they will return some of it. at their discretion, they will discard whatever they think -- i do not know what it is. i do not understand that. and then the way that management is harassing us as the attendanctenants -- we do not ud
things. it is like to use a big hammer. they just knocked us out of the box. the individuals that are doing the treatment, they really need to be trained. they alleged that i had bed bugs. they told me to give them property that they were going to treat and they would move me into another unit. when they moved me into another unit, they took 30% of my stuff and moved into the other unit without treatment. i do not understand that. something needs to be done. thank you. president murphy: thank you. next speaker, please. >> i am a certified online researcher, in addition to a professional house cleaner in san francisco for the past 15 years.
i would like to agree with the previous speaker. tenants are treated like they're the problem. regarding those unable to care for themselves, and in particular the elderly and the disabled, i would like to advocate a prioritized plan for the elderly and shut ins who are subjected to spring with pesticides. it cannot be good for your he alth. my friend ended her days in an sor room at the granada hotel. she suffered social isolation. she was treated as if she were
imagining the problem. i would just like to conclude by saying -- to use pesticides in the rooms of the elderly and the disabled is completely unacceptable. a cost-effective non-toxic grid that works as a physical barrier is readily available as an alternative to pesticides. another thing -- with a building wide approach, complete city- wide eradication is possible. that is, if we do not forget the street dwellers and other businesses. thank you. president murphy: thank you. next speaker. >> my name is richard. i'm with the housing rights
committee of san francisco. before that, i was a property manager in the city for over 10 years. before that, i inten seattle. i saw maybe five complaints about bed bugs. in the few years i've been working as a housing advocate, i've seen four or five times that. in 2008, there were 18 to 40 cases to us. in 2009, there were 48. i do not know what they were last year yet. clearly, the statistics jive with the statistics that were put up on the board. that says that whatever we're doing is not working. it is getting worse. i do not know exactly what the course is to take, but it has to be a radical change in my
opinion. the impact it has on the quality of people's lives -- that was so true. that is why she got the applause. we recognize this is an issue that is getting worse and the effect that has on the public is catastrophic in some cases. i asked you to take this very seriously and continue to push to figure out some way to change this. if any of you want to contact me, i do have some ideas. they would be worth a try. thank you. president murphy: thank you. next speaker, please. >> good morning. my name is victor nelson. i'm a social service consultant. i've worked many years in direct service in san francisco with
the people better living in the sor's. i've made contact and spoken with hundreds of sor tenants. as a field representative for a local. the primary concerns include drug dealing right in front of their sor and bedbugs. i listened while tenants spoke of the horror. many spoke of the disruption of the three step treatment cycle as they were already impacted by one or more disabilities. some spoke of having to take three hours to disassemble a unit to prepare for treatment and the same amount of time to reestablish it after the treatment. this is a threshold even the
most able-bodied person can grow weary after one spraying, let alone three. among the tenants having bedbugs, i encounter those who were well aware of the protocol, but said the hotel management did not follow guidelines. during my time with the sor collaborative, it became apparent that the protocol is not uniformly followed, nor does it seem to have any oversight or enforcement. this ad hoc mismatch of treatment without any controls has limited results that we now experience. the tenant may have a month before the treatment starts again. i'm suggesting an oversight body for education, treatment and services, and a methodology wil